Rachel Jenae

Anytime: Meet the Carlsons

Every once in a while you meet people who you immediately feel like you should already be friends with. Jay and Kayla Carlson are a few of those people. We brainstormed over this shoot for a good while and Kayla, as a fellow photographer, brought a million amazing ideas to the table.  She has an undying love for basketball (much like myself) and come to find out an old college friend introduced them to each other. They are a beautiful couple inside and out and their passion for life and Jesus shines through so evidently. I asked Kayla to share a bit of her story below and the sweet transformation that Jesus has done in her through struggle and pain. Be sure and read it and leave her some love!


Kayla’s Story

The summer before my senior year in high school (10 years ago) was when everything seemed to be going really well, as far as the things that I loved. I was getting recruited by some big universities to play Division 1 basketball, I was doing really well in school, although I had to try really hard, and I had some amazing friends and family. It all looked really beautiful on the outside, but all my happiness and emotions were totally contingent on three things; whether or not I was playing well in basketball, if my average points per game was good and if I was getting contacted by the schools I really wanted to play at. Everything in my life was basketball and I literally played any chance I could get my hands on a ball.

Then there started to be a lot of really low points where all I could do was cry and nothing made me feel better. I was really sad and angry at almost everything. I felt that something was missing but I had no idea what it was. All these emotions and mood swings started affecting the way I was playing and soon my status of being the only female player in my high school who was a varsity starter since I was a freshman was now me being benched more and more. I wasn’t playing well and my coach was really hard on me. He stopped starting me because I was “mentally unstable”.  This was devastating to me because I felt that if I wasn’t going to get to play that I wasn’t going to get recruited. I would tell my parents that something was wrong and that I just didn’t want to live anymore. Things just kept escalating to deeper and deeper depression until I tried to commit suicide by attempting to roll my car in the ditch. Only by the grace of God my best friend was driving behind me and as I got out of my car just wishing that the attempt would have worked, she grabbed my hands and prayed that I would have nothing left but to accept the Lord Jesus Christ into my heart and life and He would transform me. It was a powerful thing to hear and then pray, but my head was too clouded to really know what I had just accepted. I was in and out of three psych wards over the next three years and I was diagnosed with clinical depression and then later bipolar disorder, but there was a continual growth that only came through walking through all of that struggle and pain. That’s where the life transformation began.

I write this as something that I believe to be a miracle. It’s my life transformation and the incredible story of what the Lord did in my life and wants to do in your life. It’s why He created each of us as clay to mold into perfection. If you were to meet me today and spend just a little time with me, you will leave knowing love, living love and wanting to love. Its what I am now and forever will be because of a decision that I made in a desperate place in my life. I believe today that I was given this life story to tell and be the Jesus that some people might never get to meet. I know my life is a ministry because of what I have been able to do with it through only His strength.  I will always learn to love from struggle and pain. It’s really where you meet people. Mother Teresa said, “Each one of them is Jesus in disguise”.

-Kayla Carlson